I am a young adult now, but an experience I had when I was a little girl has helped me all my life. I’m from Renaico, a small town in Chile. I remember with some emotion when my mother, Ruby, was the president of the Primary. We had a small branch then; I was the only child who attended. She would teach the class. When we got to church on Sunday morning, she would say, “Good morning, Jenny. I’m your Primary teacher.” This phrase was repeated every week. We would have an opening prayer and sing a song, and then she would proceed with the lesson.
She regularly visited children who were less-active, whom she lovingly called “my little darlings.” Often we would find these children playing in the street, and Mama would stop the car and say in a cheerful voice, “Hey, see you at church on Sunday.” Most of them said OK. But on Sunday it would be just Mama and me.
Sometimes I got frustrated when those children didn’t come to church. I would say, “That’s enough, Mama. They don’t want to come.” But she, in her loving way, would reply, “I need to be responsible in my calling and persevere.”
One day the unbelievable happened. A boy named Carlos came to church and said, “See, Sister Ruby, I told you I would come.” Well, at least now there were two of us. This made my mother’s face shine with joy, and every time Carlos came to class, she would say to me, “See, sweetheart, we need to be persistent, and God will do the rest.”
One day Carlos started coming with a boy named Alexis. The three of us loved playing together, and we are still friends today. From that day, more and more children started coming.
My mother was released from her calling after two years. When she left the Primary, 35 children were attending every week. How wonderful it was to see that my mother’s love for the children was returned. More than 10 years have passed since she was released, and the Church is larger here now, but nobody has ever surpassed her achievement of getting 35 children to attend!
I am the Primary president now. I love these little children, who have taught me so much. I’m so grateful for this wonderful calling and for my mother’s example of perseverance. I know that Heavenly Father lives and that it is true what my mother says: “I do my part, and He does the rest.”
Illustration by Natalie Malan